Nov 19, 2013 0
Preparing for a potentially life-changing pitch? Or maybe you’re just hoping to charm some influential acquaintances at a networking event with your big idea.
No matter the occasion, a few experienced business leaders shared their pitching advice at the TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo. The event dedicated five sessions to this crucial communication skill.
“It’s the door being open or closed,” said Linda Yaswen-Corkery, licensing and commercialization officer for the University of Maryland. “It’s that dramatic.”
So what were some of the experts’ suggestions? The tried and true tips for making a great impression? Here is what some of the pitching veterans said at the expo (quotes have been lightly edited for conciseness):
Randy Domolky, managing director of TEDCO:
- Really none of us knows what is going to happen in the future. If you come to me and try to tell me that you do that’s going to seem somewhat ingenuous and incredible.
Gerard Eldering, founder of InnovateTech Ventures:
- Come up with some sort of hook or phrase or analogy to open with. That can be really memorable.
- Be flexible. A pitch isn’t a single script
Amy Millman, president of Springboard Enterprises:
- Take a long, hour-long deck and take everything you ever wanted to say, put all the answers and illustrations in a PowerPoint, and pick the 30-second pitch out of that.
Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, founder of See Jane Invest:
- Know your story, know your listener. Have other 30-second pitches for a variety of listeners.
- If you send an email and it’s so obviously a mass email, I don’t even read it.
- Your pitch has to be like a commercial aimed at 10-year-olds.
Robbie Melton, director of entrepreneurial innovation at TEDCO:
- Make it fun. I’ve done drama for years and the best way to really relax is do it in accents (when practicing). It sounds crazy but it works.
- Use some more of the marketing, less of the technical. It’s not about the tech, it’s “How are you going to make me money?”
And an overriding theme from all five — practice your pitch. Get comfortable talking about the idea and use each pitching opportunity as a learning experience.